Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
First-time visitors to Hawaii are welcome at the new Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach – but they’re not really the resort’s target market, says Director of Resort Marketing, Huy Vo.
The new luxury property is most certainly a winner, with private cabanas around the eighth floor infinity pool (Waikiki’s highest), coveted dining venues and that legendary service that you can only get at a Ritz-Carlton resort.
But while all 307 residences are ocean-facing with stunning Pacific views, the property is not on the beach. “So we’re not going for first-timers who absolutely want to stay on the beach. We’re more for savvy travellers, experienced travellers, and travellers who are loyal to the Ritz-Carlton brand,” says Vo.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach opened in July 2016 with a 38-storey tower inspired by Hawaii’s natural elements. All 307 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom residential accommodations and penthouses include kitchens with premium appliances along with in-residence washers and dryers. Some 240 of the 307 units are available for rental.
The new property is positioned at the gateway to Waikiki, next to ‘Luxury Row’ retailers including Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Miu Miu. It’s the newest addition to the Waikiki skyline since 2009.
While up and running for several months now, final touches mean The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach’s first tower will be 100% operational by November, says Vo. Dining venues have opened in stages. The fresh and casual BLT Market opened on June 28 offering modern, American-inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu changes daily and is influenced by the best of the season’s bounty sourced from the local purveyors and Hawaii growers that supply Honolulu’s freshest farmers’ markets. BLT Market also oversees all food and beverage service for the resort’s in-residence and poolside dining.
Dean & DeLuca arrived in mid-September, debuting its first Hawaii location at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach. Also new, the acclaimed Sushi Sho opened in mid-September, its first location outside of Japan. With just 10 seats, Sushi Sho is so exclusive there’s already a wait list for reservations a mile long. Meanwhile the resort’s spa opened this month.
Tower 2, scheduled to open in spring 2018, will have 259 rooms. Between the two towers, when all is said and done, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach will have more than 500 rooms. And that will make it “the largest Ritz-Carlton property in the world,” notes Vo.
Vo adds that The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach relies heavily on its travel agent partners. “Travel agents are a very important distribution channel for us,” he says. And yes, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach does have travel agent rates. See RitzCarlton.com/Waikiki for more information about the resort.